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Students' understandings of human organs and organ systems

By Michael Reiss and Sue Dale Tunnicliffe


How do people develop their understanding of what is inside them? This study looks at students' understandings of their internal structure. A cross-sectional approach was used involving a total of 158 students in England from six different age groups (ranging from 4 year-olds to first year undergraduates). Students were given a blank piece of A4-sized paper and asked to draw what they thought was inside themselves. Repeated inspections of the completed drawings allowed us to construct a seven point scale of these representations. Our analysis shows the extent to which student understanding increases with age and the degree to which pupils know more about some organs and organ systems than others. While gender differences in the drawings were generally not large there were some intriguing differences in the ways males and females drew reproductive organs

Year: 2001
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